For clubs and societies, managing membership fees is an unavoidable – and often unenviable - part of the job.
Whether you have a dedicated treasurer or accounts team, or are personally responsible for collecting regular payments, it can be a challenging chore.
While some members prefer to pay by debit or credit card, others like to write a cheque or even pay you in cash at meet-ups. This results in a payment puzzle that can confuse your cash flow and baffle your balance sheet.
Instead of juggling all these different methods, you can choose the easy option: Direct Debit.
For clubs and societies, institutes and guilds, it’s the perfect solution to effortlessly and reliably collect membership fees.
Here we focus on two contented FastPay clients who are enjoying the transformative effects of Direct Debit. They share their insight on what challenges they faced and how they’ve successfully overcome them to deliver exceptional customer service.
How Installing Direct Debit Can Help
“Offering a Direct Debit facility to our members has proven to be an important ingredient to our success and one we will continue.”
Launched in 2006, the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) is a government sanctioned and not-for-profit registered organisation, dedicated to improving standards within the industry.
Working with professional installers, retailers and manufacturers, their approach revolves around education, standards and support. They also provide consumers access to free practical advice and an informed choice.
With thousands of members, the BiKBBI knew that offering a Direct Debit facility would be beneficial as it:
- Allows members to pay fees in monthly instalments, helping their budgeting
- Involves a quick and easy set-up, easing their admin load
- Gives a helping hand to members who invest in the institute’s support, boosting their loyalty
Damian takes up the story: “Direct Debit seemed like the sensible solution. Unfortunately the service offered by our bank was complicated to implement, costly and confusing.
“Subsequently we carefully researched alternatives within the market and came across FastPay.”
This is a common problem for clubs and societies: the prohibitive costs and ongoing management demands of using Direct Debit through a bank make it impossible to introduce.
Costs include initial set-up fees, specialist staff wages and training, and expensive software updates.
Instead, the BiKBBI discovered how a Direct Debit bureau could manage a scheme on their behalf. Once members have filled in a Direct Debit Instruction, either on the phone, online or on a paper mandate, their payments are taken care of.
Convenience and peace of mind for them, secure cash flow and a reduced admin burden for the institute.
Damian said: “We found FastPay to be a far better solution for our business and the members we serve. It’s a cost-efficient solution that allows our members to spread the cost of membership.
“The sign-up process was simple and very straightforward. Plus, the administrative process required to collect Direct Debits is incredibly easy and FastPay’s reporting and processing has always been seamless and efficient.
“FastPay have never let us down and therefore we would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them to potential clients.”
Rugby Club Gives Direct Debit a Try
“There are now more than 100 of our members using the scheme and more signing up each month. We would recommend it to anyone in the world of amateur sport.”
Wigan St Patrick’s Amateur Rugby League Club is another happy Direct Debit devotee, thanks to FastPay’s professional service.
Established in 1910, their player base is currently made up of 16 teams, from Under 7s to Open Age. With over 300 members, collecting membership fees used to be a time-consuming task for the volunteer team managers.
These managers, who form the link between coaches, players and the management committee, worked hard to accurately collect payments.
But despite their best efforts, it was clear that not everyone was paying membership fees. This resulted in a loss of important revenue and an added complication for the team managers to deal with.
Catherine said: “To alleviate the situation, ensure regular cash flow and also in response to our members’ requests for a pay monthly Direct Debit scheme, we began to look at what easy-to-implement and manage systems were out there.
“In effect FastPay ticked all the boxes. They were more than helpful in the beginning and were on hand every step of the way to assist us with the process of getting members signed up to the scheme.”
FastPay prides itself on personal and friendly customer service. With free email and phone support when you sign up to their Managed Service, you’ll always have expert advice to hand.
All FastPay’s clients enjoy regular reports to update them on the status of every payment. This alerts them to any transactions that have bounced or been cancelled and gives them all the information they need to resolve the issue swiftly and professionally.
With Direct Debit for clubs and societies, you can also log in to your own personalised dashboard to get a real-time overview of your accounts. Every detail you need is at your fingertips, both on your desktop and mobile device.
Catherine added: “Direct Debit has certainly helped us as an amateur sports club in ensuring that our membership income is paid. It’s really easy to follow up should a payment fail: all I need to do is pick up the phone and FastPay are ready to help.
“Day-to-day, I have to do very little. With the submission of a monthly spreadsheet, my work is done. Additional payees are really easy to set up too.”
The future success of your membership organisation depends on attracting, engaging with and retaining your members.
Choose Direct Debit and you’ll be offering them the most straightforward and reliable payment scheme. One that will lead to increased levels of member retention and loyalty, alongside securing your cashflow and reducing your admin tasks.
Follow in the footsteps of the BiKBBI and Wigan St Patrick’s Amateur Rugby League Club and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards for your club, society or guild.